Hamas official rules out direct talks with Israel

Hamas’s former Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniya said on Saturday the militant Islamic Palestinian group would not hold any direct talks with Israel. There would be ‘no direct negotiations with the Zionist enemy’, Haniya said in a public address in the Gaza Strip, and called on Western-backed Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to ‘review’ his own strategy of talks with Israel. Hamas does not recognise Israel which denounces Hamas as a ‘terrorist’ organisation, and the two sides have never had any overt direct contact.

But on Friday, exiled Hamas official Mussa Abu Marzuq -- along with Haniya one of the movement’s two deputy leaders -- said direct talks with the Jewish state might be unavoidable in light of planned negotiations in Cairo to consolidate last month’s tentative Gaza truce. ‘If the situation remains as it is now... Hamas could find itself forced to do this,’ Abu Marzuq said, referring to the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza after 50 days of Israeli pounding from air, land and sea, which ended on August 26.


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